HP Photosmart 7520 review
The HP Photosmart 7520’s tablet-style touchscreen makes it pleasant to use, although our test results were hit and miss
The HP Photosmart 7520 has a very different design to the others, eschewing the increasingly low and flat look for a stepped shape. The smaller top shelf has the scanner platen, a 25-sheet foldaway ADF and a protruding tablet-style touchscreen, then there’s a cut-out thin body before you reach the bulky base, where A4 and photo trays sit. It’s not ugly as such, just different.
As with the Envy 120, the extensive setup process takes you online for the latest software, and sets up an ePrint account for you as well – of course it also supports AirPrint. The touchscreen is one of the best on show: it’s large and clear, nice and responsive to touch, and has all sorts of basic on-device image editing tools.
Lifting the lid gives you access to the print carousel, which takes five individual inks – including a pigment-based black for better text output, just like the top-end Canon and Epson printers. As such we expected a lot from our test prints, but performance was a bit hit and miss.
Sure, text was sharp and well-formed, and it came out at a nippy 10ppm at normal quality (and nearly 16ppm in draft mode), but photos were pale and lacked impact. The detail was good, with no visible grain, but in blind tests we picked the Epson and Canon photos ahead of the HP every time. Colour pages were much slower than mono, too, coming at just 3.9ppm.
It’s also a noisy printer that likes to spend a lot of its time performing maintenance, humming and whirring away even between print jobs. In an office that’s not an issue, but it’s not ideal in a quiet home.
Perhaps we’re being overly harsh – after all, this is the second-cheapest printer here at just £125, and for that money its output looks more acceptable. But it’s not that much better than the Canon Pixma MX455 and not that much cheaper than the MG6350, which makes it a bit of a compromised middle-ground option.